Eight Thousand Years of Maltese Maritime History: Trade, Piracy, and Naval Warfare in the Central Mediterranean

Ayse Devrim Atauz
Foreword by James C. Bradford and Gene A. Smith, Series Editors

Details: 400 pages    6 x 9
Cloth: $69.95   ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-3179-8   
Pubdate: 3/9/2008
Series: New Perspectives on Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology
Review(s): 4 available

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"A very important synthesis of the political, economic, and maritime history of the Mediterranean over eight thousand years. The conclusions the author makes are of great importance to the history of Malta."--Ruthy Gertwagen, Haifa University

For millennia, Malta has always been considered a site of strategic importance. From the arrival of the Phoenicians through rule under Carthage, Rome, Sicilian Arabs, Normans, and Genovese, to the Order of St. John ("Knights of Malta"), the advent of the Napoleonic Wars, and even World Wars I and II, the Maltese islands have served as re-provisioning stations, military bases, and refuges for pirates and privateers.

Building on her systematic underwater archaeological survey of the Maltese archipelago, Ayse Atauz presents a sweeping, groundbreaking, interdisciplinary approach to maritime history in the Mediterranean. Offering a general overview of essential facts, including geographical and oceanographic factors that would have affected the navigation of historic ships, major relevant historical texts and documents, the logistical possibilities of ancient ship design, a detailed study of sea currents and wind patterns, and especially the archaeological remains (or scarcity thereof) around the Maltese maritime perimeter, she builds a convincing argument that Malta mattered far less in maritime history than has been previously asserted.

Atauz's conclusions are of great importance to the history of Malta and of the Mediterranean in general, and her archaeological discoveries about ships are a major contribution to the history of shipbuilding and naval architecture.

Ayse Devrim Atauz is the chief archaeologist for ProMare, a non-profit, marine research organization dedicated to underwater exploration the world over. She holds degrees from universities in Turkey and the United States.

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